Tao of music

Updated: 2013-09-06 07:19

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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Tao of music

Singer David Tao will stop in Beijing on Sept 7 for his world tour concert, The Glamorous Life. Photo provided to China Daily

He says his father influenced him much more than his mother because he never mastered singing Peking Opera. But, he has used Peking Opera elements in his songwriting, such as the hit song, Susan Says, which combines Peking Opera's singing accent and R&B.

Born in Taiwan, and later emigrated to the United States with his family when his father decided to pursue his dream of working for Walt Disney, Tao graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology from UCLA and dabbled in many jobs.

While working as a policeman in Los Angeles, Tao wrote many songs and was eventually offered a contract by Taiwan veteran music producer Wang Chih-ping. The deal enabled him to release albums and write songs for other singers.

In an earlier interview, producer Wang recalls the first time he listened to Tao's songs. "I was impressed by the young man's R&B performance, which was not imitating others. It's not a surprise that he paved a new way for the music genre to popularize in Taiwan and even Asia."

Tao was surprised his music gained such success. His first album won five Golden Melody Award nominations in Taiwan.

"In the US, I listened to R&B and rock every day through TV and radio," says Tao. "I guess the timing was right when I returned to Taiwan. The fans wanted something fresh and different."

Also, like his father, who was inspired to do TV shows about everyday life, Tao writes his songs about life and his observations. Unlike pop tunes revolving around love between men and women, he talks about social issues.

He got much of his inspiration for his album Black Tangerine from the post-911 period in the US. The album was released in 2002. His sixth album 1969 talked about what happened that year, such as man landing on the moon, the first Boeing 747 flight and the day he was born.

In the latest album Hello Goodbye, which was released in June, Tao addressed his love for his late father by integrating music elements of classical guitar and harmonica.

"This album is different from my previous ones, which is much more sentimental and real," he says.

Tao of musicTao says his greatest achievement so far is singing songs he wrote himself. "I think over the years I have grown up but I don't think my fundamental attitude to music has changed," he says.

"My inspiration won't dry up because I am alive and live my life, which makes me think and express through songs. That's the secret of keeping my act fresh."

Tao of music

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